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Home » BioRefineries, Biorefinery Infrastructure, Business News/Analysis, Infrastructure, Process, R & D Focus

Chopping the Cellulosic Ethanol Down Payment: Is <$100M for Full-Scale Possible?

Submitted by on November 22, 2011 – 12:02 pmNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  Finding it hard to spare that $350 million for your cellulosic ethanol project? Here’s a system, available for licensing in 2012, that can bring down the upfront cost by a factor of three.

…And now, along comes Sud-Chemie with a system that is designed to ultimately cost less than $100 million for a 20 million gallon (60 million tonne) plant. Targeted to deliver operating costs that are the same as for first generation ethanol. Expected to be available for licensing as soon as next year.

“Our unique selling proposition?” asks Dr. Andre Koltermann, Group VP, Corporate R&D at Sud-Chemie. “We are one of the few companies worldwide that have process development and enzyme development under one roof. We are independent from enzyme supply, because we make our own during the process itself, using only a small fraction of pretreated feedstock. We have optimized enzymes for feedstock and operating conditions.”

Bottom line, no shipping of enzymes, produced offsite at its own industrial biotech production facility. Two, in one. Hence, low capex.

…“We think the demo plant will be in actual operation in January or February; we are in construction now,” said Koltermann. “The pilot plant has been running for 2.5 years, where we have been testing various feedstocks.  Crop straw, corn stover, bagasse.”

The yields? Around 70 gallons per ton, or 21 percent based on dry mass straw . That’s a little lower than some other systems that are not diverting biomass towards enzyme production.

…In short, the aggie bankers who are long on vision are short on cash. The guys in New York who are long on cash, are shorter on vision.   READ MORE

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